11 Aug 2022

NHS dentists unobtainable in Derry

'Improved access needed to NHS dentistry' - Sinead McLaughlin MLA

NHS dentists unobtainable in Derry

NHS dentists unobtainable in Derry

Increasing numbers of people in Derry are unable to register as a new NHS dental patient.

Calling for improved access to NHS dentistry, Foyle MLA, Sinead McLaughlin (SDLP) said Health Minister Robin Swann must "urgently intervene to improve access". 

Speaking to Derry Now, Ms McLaughlin said: "I have been contacted by many constituents struggling to register as an NHS dental patient in Derry.

"Most recently I was contacted by a single mother who said she had called every dental practice in Derry and not one would accept her or her two young children as new NHS patients. Another constituent was forced to travel to Donegal to access care.

"This is causing many families intense anxiety. Either they register privately and experience increased financial pressures or they go without essential dental care and worry about the long-term consequences. 

"I had written to the minister of health to raise these issues. Disappointingly, the advice was that constituents should ring around and may have to travel further than normal. This is unacceptable. Not everyone has access to a car and public transport is not always accessible. Also, this issue is not isolated to Derry. Dental practices right across the North are turning down new NHS patients," said Ms McLaughlin.

Sinead McLaughlin said she had replied to the minister highlighting these points and calling for urgent intervention. 

She added: "These issues have been bubbling for months and have now reached crisis point. Failure to support people in accessing the NHS care that they are entitled to will lead to poorer health outcomes and will further widen inequalities."


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